| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 2, 16 June 2003
|JAMD Linux for Home Users
It's official: Red Hat Linux is not the best distribution to run on your home computer. In its June edition, the Linux Format magazine provides comprehensive reviews of all three major commercial distributions released earlier this year - SuSE 8.2, Mandrake 9.1 and Red Hat 9. While SuSE 8.2 is declared a resounding winner and given the publication's "Top Stuff Award", the reviewers were not sufficiently impressed with Red Hat when compared directly to either SuSE or Mandrake. Some cited gripes include lack of a graphical partitioning tool during installation, less than sufficient support for notebook users, poor multimedia support and limited life span of the product. Red Hat fans will argue that installing apt4rpm and pointing it to FreshRPMs will cure some of the problems, but the point is that the out-of-the-box impression with Red Hat is simply not on par with the other two distributions.
However, there are many users who have valid reasons for using Red Hat - some might have invested into a Red Hat certification programme, others might use it because their employers have standardised on it. If this is the case, then consider a Red Hat-based alternative - tweaked for home users, but still fully compatible with the latest Red Hat release. One of them is JAMD Linux.
JAMD Linux has been around for almost one year and the latest release, version 0.0.6 has received some serious praise from users: "You have created the best, most up-to-date desktop/laptop distribution. It installed on my home system and laptop with no problems at all. Everything is up and running and doing well.", wrote one satisfied user on JAMD's user forums. Another agreed: "I have to say that JAMD is the best distribution I used to date, and I think I have tried them all." It seems that JAMD Linux has attracted many former Lycoris users, especially those who got tired of waiting for a new Lycoris release with more up-to-date software packages. In short, if you like Red Hat, but prefer a more KDE-centric distribution with apt-get and optimised for i686, give JAMD Linux a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Have you noticed how often SuSE has appeared in the headlines recently? It seems that SuSE is actually driving the current Linux desktop sentiment (with the usual help from Steve Ballmer), even manipulating the stock markets! It's not hard to see where SuSE's confidence is coming from - they've created the most praised desktop Linux distribution ever. The Linux Format magazine goes as far as suggesting that SuSE 8.2 should be able to compete successfully with distributions catering for less technical users, such as Xandros or Lindows, providing a lot more for a lot less than either of the two. At US$40 for the SuSE Personal Edition, it is the bargain of the year.
Speaking about SuSE, speculations about its possible merger with Turbolinux have suddenly appeared in the media. It would make sense, many of them concluded, to merge a major European Linux player with a major Asian Linux player. Sounds logical, except for the fact that Turbolinux is not a major Linux player - in Asia or anywhere else. In fact, Turbolinux is no longer a player of any scale and the only power that remains from a once mighty distribution is the grip on the Western media that keeps claiming its imaginary magnitude without checking the facts. Just visit the Linux section of any bookstore in Tokyo, Hong Kong or Taipei and do your research. The rows and rows of books about Red Hat give a good indication of who really is the major Linux player in Asia.
Knoppix is releasing a DVD edition. However, before you get too excited about the prospect of having 4.7GB of compressed software available on a bootable DVD, this is a one-time product, which will only be available to visitors of LinuxTag 2003 (10 - 13 July) in Karlsruhe, Germany. But the idea sounds very interesting, so putting some pressure on Mr Knopper to provide regular DVD editions might bear some fruit. Even if it is not free, many users will probably find it worthwhile to buy a bootable DVD containing just about the entire Debian unstable tree. Find more information in this forum thread at knoppix.net.
|Released Last Week
Lots of development releases last week. Red Flag has released a beta of its upcoming Red Flag Linux 4.0 and here is a screenshot of it sent in by Charles Bandy:
Red Flag Linux 4.0 Beta
As you can see, the Red Flag developers have gone further than anyone else to date to make Linux look like Windows XP. Do they perhaps plan a "Linux coup" by replacing all Windows installation with Red Flag Linux overnight, hoping that the government's office workers won't notice the difference? Contrary to a common belief in the Western world, Red Flag Linux is not a widely used distribution in China and most users prefer Red Hat or Mandrake (Mandrake has become very popular over the last year or so), while the geeks use Debian. All three have excellent Chinese support and have enjoyed a much larger user base than any of the domestic Linux distributions. Of course, not everybody has a choice and the Chinese government clearly prefers to use Red Flag Linux. The boxed version will ship with RedOffice, a modified version of OpenOffice with support for all aspects of the Chinese language, including printing.
Other development releases seen this week included ROCK Linux 2.0.0 beta4 (final release expected by the end of June), TA-Linux 0.2.0 beta4, IPCop 1.3.1 alpha3, Source Mage 0.6 beta3, MoviX 0.8.0 rc1, ClarkConnect 2.0 beta (final release expected in two weeks, but don't be surprised if it gets delayed) and e-smith SME Server 6.0 beta1. New releases were announced by SuSE, Quantian and ByzantineOS. SuSE's new SuSE Linux Desktop is an enterprise level product, sold only as part of a 5-year support bundle. Details about the Knoppix-based Quantian 0.3 are available here, while ByzantineOS, a Linux and Mozilla-based live CD distribution with a home entertainment bias, released version 20030614 on Sunday.
|Expected This Week
SmoothWall's 2.0 beta 5 did not arrive last week and its home page still displays the "coming soon" message. Maybe this week?
LindowsOS 4.0 was originally expected at about this time, but the latest edition of Michael's Minutes gives a subtle indication that it won't be out until next month. Expect a massive marketing campaign leading up to its release.
|Web Site News
Damn Small Linux was the only new addition to the DistroWatch database this week. Created by John Andrews in California, Damn Small Linux is a live CD distribution based on Knoppix, but its size has been reduced drastically to fit on a 50MB business-card shape CD. This is only the second "business-card size" distribution in our database, the first one being the better-known LNX-BBC. The main difference between the two is the fact that LNX-BBC is more of an expert rescue tool with a collection of utilities to repair damaged installations or recover data, while Damn Small Linux is a general purpose distribution to carry around in your wallet. It comes with XFree86 and Blackbox as the only available window manager, while other light-weight applications for email, word processing, instant messaging and playing music are also included.
The current waiting list was expanded with the addition of CDLinux. Spectra Linux, a less well-known distribution from Finland, was moved into the Discontinued Distributions section; its web site has been inaccessible for over two months and it seems that Probatus, which previously developed Spectra Linux, has decided to focus on other projects.
Number of distributions in the database: 149
Number of discontinued distributions: 18
Number of distributions on the waiting list: 29
|First of all, thank you for all the kind words you wrote in our experimental forum last week. I did suspect that many people find this site useful, but it's always nice to hear it again :-)|
On the subject of tracked packages, please visit the packages page to see a preliminary list of new packages that will be added to the existing list next month. If you still have some favourites, suggest them now, but you should have a very good reason to have them included. I've received requests to include about 150 new packages and I tried to include all packages that got more than one vote, but it is impossible to please everybody. Also, removing PHP-Nuke is under consideration - this package seems to be at the receiving end of user dissatisfaction and anger due to its licensing changes. I don't know how much of it is FUD and how much is genuine concern, so if somebody cares to shed some light on the subject, please use the space below.
BSD distributions will not be included in DistroWatch. A few voices for and against their inclusion were noted, but overall it seems that the interest just isn't there. Only 4 readers were prepared to put their money where their mouths were (if you don't know what I am talking about then re-read last week's forum posts), so the request has been declined.
That's about it for this week, see you next Monday,
1 • BSD WTF (by Paul on 2003-06-16 05:47:47 GMT) |
I mean really. You said "If 5 people become members", you got 4 at no attempt to help. You could have easily put some item on the main page demonstrating the desire.
All anyone is asking for is the 3 major BSDs to compare with Linux. It is more work, but these three (open, free, net) provide much more stability, users, features, and usefulness than more then half of the other Linux distros.
2 • RE: BSD WTF (by ladislav at 2003-06-16 06:15:03 GMT)
Paul, I understand your disappointment. But 5 was a very modest target, not even one person per day (out of 10,000 who visit DistroWatch every day). Of the four who joined, none mentioned that they were joining because they wanted BSD listed; it's not impossible that they would have joined anyway. Your argument that I could put it on the main page is valid, but I can equally argue that since you wanted it so badly, you could have joined 5 times to make sure that BSD gets included.
If any of the 4 (possible) BSD supporters who joined last week wish to have their money refunded, please email me.
3 • Maybe another website, \"UnixWatch\", is needed :-) (by wtzhu on 2003-06-16 07:06:23 GMT)
Maybe it would be better to compare BSDs with SVRs, say, SGI Irix, IBM AIX, SCO UnixWare and Sun Solaris. Unix is supposed to be Unix and Linux is supposed to be Linux :-)
4 • Mozilla Firebird? (by Anonymous on 2003-06-16 07:46:52 GMT)
Firebird was again dropped from the list of to be included packages?
5 • YAY! Damn Small (by Nick at 2003-06-16 07:54:49 GMT)
Wow, it's great to see that Damn Small Linux is now listed here. It's a great linux distro. Usually you list new additions on the home page though.
6 • RE: Mozilla Firebird? (by ladislav at 2003-06-16 08:16:54 GMT)
This is a message I received from somebody in the know:
"Also if you have a category for Mozilla Firebird, note that the next version will be just called Mozilla 1.5; it probably won't be called by the "Firebird" project name except when distinguishing between different Mozilla projects (i.e. Mozilla 1.5 is based on Mozilla Firebird, whilst Mozilla 1.4 is based on Mozilla SeaMonkey)."
It looks like Mozilla will simply become Firebird (or other way around) so there shouldn't be a need for listing both projects. If I am wrong, please correct me.
7 • RE: YAY! Damn Small (by ladislav at 2003-06-16 08:22:25 GMT)
All future new releases of Damn Small Linux will be announced on the front page, but new inclusions in the distribution database will only be mentioned in the weekly edition.
8 • Gentoo (by david on 2003-06-16 09:50:45 GMT)
What happend to Gentoo that the packages in the current stable and unstable branches are not tracked?
9 • RE: Gentoo (by ladislav at 2003-06-16 10:24:52 GMT)
It seems that Gentoo's package generating script is broken. I've emailed the developers about it, so hopefully it gets fixed soon.
10 • Just a "Thank you"... ;) (by Grunt on 2003-06-16 12:23:01 GMT)
I figured that instead of posting another whining/b!tching comment I'll put a simple "Thank you, Ladislav!" post down here at the bottom... :p
Kudos mate, great job with this website, and keep 'em coming!
11 • JAMD Linux for Home Users (by gabbman at 2003-06-16 18:24:41 GMT)
Thanks Ladislav, for the comments, and this site.
12 • Re: Gentoo (by Peter on 2003-06-16 18:41:37 GMT)
If you find some kind of bug or have any sort of comment aimed at the developers, please file a bug report at http://bugs.gentoo.org/ and the developers will find and resolve the problem. I think I can confidently say you have no chance in hell at getting a gentoo problem resolved with email alone :-)
When In Doubt, File A Bug!
13 • BSD trolling (by Leo on 2003-06-16 19:16:12 GMT)
Why is it that there is always a BSD troll or two in Linux forums ? This site is about LINUX distros. It is clearly stated in the front page. Nonetheless, Ladislav is willing to include some info on BSD if there is enough interest and support (subscriptions), but this is aside. Why should BSD trolls come here to bitch because there is no info on BSD ? There are plenty of BSD pages, go there and have fun.
I never tried *BSD, and one of the reasons is that I can't help thinking of little envious people lurking in the shadows, bitching at every linux forum/article/web site.
14 • Sorry for trolling (by BSD Troll...I guess that\'s me on 2003-06-16 20:17:00 GMT)
Well, I apologize about the entire matter and will give it a rest. So for everyone out there who is all ticked off, like Leo, don't worry, I am hanging up my troll shoes and climbing back into the shadows. So as I stop bitching, please don't bitch about people bitching, which in turn makes more female dogs followed by more...
15 • Thank you note (by User of various distro\'s on 2003-06-17 00:20:19 GMT)
I don't know who you are or what you do, but in the past few years I've found your site very informative and up2date (okay, okay, pun intended, but nevertheless it's true). I've tried a lot of flavors and, to be honest I still haven't find my ultimate distro (although Debian is my favourite, followed by SuSE (it's slick!), the source distro's just took up to much of my time :), but then again, that's probably nog going to happen while Linux exists. Not because Linux isn't good, but because it's an ever changing process, and I might add: in progress as well. To quote the famous Heraclitus: "Panta rhei."
Anyway, your site gave me valueble info about the various distro's, both the short (general) info and the extensive info supplied by the many reviews you've addressed on your main page.
As I'm posting this, another question comes to mind: does anyone knows how to use Win4Lin with Debian? Just a question for whoever uses the product and knows more about it. As I have to use Windows product for work, I've opted for Win4Lin at last, but it doesn't seem to work with Debian. Don't start flaming or WINEing that I shouldn't use Windows product 8^)
16 • Mandrake vs. JAMD (by http://home.attbi.com/~netjones">John at 2003-06-17 17:46:08 GMT)
No offense to the writer but Mandrake 9.1 is the best desktop/workstation distribution I've used to date. The apps are newer, the hardware recognition is better and the utilities are very impressive. Try them both I think you'll see what I mean.
17 • PHP-Nuke (by DataVortex at 2003-06-17 19:59:00 GMT)
PHP-Nuke has always had a range of these types of problems - they are what caused the splintering of some people who started development of the Post-Nuke fork. These developers have now left this title behind to continue their work under a new name, and a CMS which I simply can't reccomend enough: Xaraya.
18 • Woops, Lost the Links (by DataVortex at 2003-06-17 20:00:39 GMT)
There was HTML in that last comment, it was snipped.
Xaraya (try this one!): http://www.xaraya.com/
19 • Friendly Banter. (by Vae. on 2003-06-18 03:15:55 GMT)
If ya like BSD, give Slackware a try! ;)
20 • Thank you (by Vacendak at 2003-06-19 06:11:15 GMT)
I have used many Distros and most of them I have found on your site. You are providing a great service to the community and I would like to thank you for that. I visit your site daily and always find something informative. I have learned so much and I like the way you do business(i.e. SCO ). I am glad you decided to included Damn Small Linux. I have been playing with it about 4 months and the guy who runs that project is great. Every time I run into a problem he responds quickly with an answer. Again thank you.
Number of Comments: 20
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